God’s Man of Faith: the life and teaching of Martin Luther was originally produced by the ALPB almost 60 years ago in 1959. It was part of a program during the 1950s to encourage Lutherans to pay more attention in their churches to the events of the Reformation and the teachings of Luther and the other Reformers.
God’s Man of Faith was called the Martin Luther “comic book” because it was illustrated in the style of many comic books of the day and printed in the colors and on the paper typically used for comic books. But it was a serious telling of the story of how Luther found the Gospel in the Bible where it had been all along. This changed him, his life and eventually the world. While intended for school children, this 12-page small 7 inch by 5 inch comic book actually contained a lot about Luther and the Reformation to interest adults as well.
Many thousands of copies were produced and distributed before it went out of print. Then in 1983, which was the 500th anniversary of Luther’s birth, the ALPB decided to reprint it. Events during the 24 years since God’s Man of Faith was originally published, especially the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), seemed to be moving the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian churches toward a better understanding of each other. Interest in ecumenism was growing and the series of Catholic/Lutheran theological dialogues that were taking place in the United States were viewed as being especially productive. It was in that spirit that Glenn Stone, ALPB Executive Director and Lutheran Forum editor at the time, revised the text of God’s Man of Faith before it was reprinted, particularly to make it less triumphalist in how it presented Lutheran teaching and that of the Roman Catholic Church. Thousands more copies were printed and once again it was well-received.
Now some 34 years later on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the ALPB is pleased to share this comic book with just a few updates with a new generation of Lutherans and others, this time via a free PDF file to download and print. You may make as many copies as you wish for your personal use or for use within your congregation.
In the 500 years since Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses for debate on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg and started what would become the Reformation, countless words from all kinds of different perspectives have been written about him, the Reformation and what it all meant. God’s Man of Faith is written from the perspective of people who admire Luther for the seriousness with which he sought to please God, for his diligence in studying the Bible where he found the Gospel it proclaimed sometimes quite at odds with things he had been taught, and for the courage he showed in opposing in his day even the Pope, the Emperor, princes and respected church teachers to defend his beliefs. Although the end results of the Reformation were both good and bad, this booklet emphasizes the good ones, summing up on the last page that “we today enjoy many blessings which Martin Luther helped the Church to appreciate anew.” By “the Church” it means not just Lutherans but the whole church of Christ on earth. Martin Luther’s story began when he became a Christian via his baptism when just one day old. When he died 62 years later confessing the faith he had taught, it was for him not a new faith he had created but the historic Christian and apostolic faith.
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